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The Newbies Arena New to Knife Making? Here's all the help you need ...

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  #1  
Old 04-13-2012, 04:00 PM
Edy420 Edy420 is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Are cheap tools, tool steel?

Hi guys.

I have a cheap crow bar handy and I was wondering if it is made of steel that is usable for making a knife.
I'm about to start on it as soon as I finish this post :P but I was wondering if I should expect bad results, or if it is possible to get a quality knife out of it.

Either way, its a learning curve project, but any information would be helpful.
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:52 PM
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WynnKnives WynnKnives is offline
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Most oft then not, cheap tools, are cheap tool steal. While some are able to be hardened, they are not the greatest steels to be made knives as they won't tend to hold a good edge along with other properties. While some tools, like good files are mostly made of W2 which is an excellent knife steel that will make and hold a nice edge and is relatively easy to heat treat. W2 like a lot of knife steels doesn't have much of a chromium content so there for needs to be taken care of or it will rust.
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Old 04-13-2012, 05:24 PM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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My advice is don't waste your time. It's much more cost effective, as well as time, effort, and frustration effective, to just purchase a bar of known steel.....at likely less than that crowbar cost.


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Old 04-13-2012, 06:23 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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I agree with the other guys. I'll add that the sad truth of the matter is that if you make a knife out of that crow bar you really don't have the expertise at this point to even know if it's a good knife or not. Even a piece of mild steel will cut if you make a blade out it. Leave the salvaged steel for later when you know how to evaluate an unknown piece of steel. For now, buy some 1084 or 1075 or 1080 so that you know what you have and what to expect from it (or so we will when you ask). As Ed said, it's cheaper than your cheap crow bar ....


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Old 04-14-2012, 07:13 AM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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Edy420....Welcome to the forum. Unfortunately, you have fallen into a trap that snags nearly every aspiring knifemaker. Because you already have the "cheap crowbar, you are thinking that the total cost to you is nothing....and that is true...but what is also true is that nothing is the value of what you might learn in the effort of making your first knife. As a newbie, most people have no concept of the knowledge required to correctly heat treat steel to make an acceptable knife....and when they ask questions of this forum, they become disapointed when they don't get specific answers to their questions.

Here is the problem. There are many different types of steels. some are suitable for making a quality knife, and others are not. The processes can be very different to take two pieces of different types of steel, and arrive at the same properly heat treated blade. For members of this forum to answer your questions, we need specific information. If we go to a reference and try to look up "cheap crowbar" steel....we
are not going to find anything in our reference material. If you were to call the manufacturer of the crowbar, the odds are they could not give you the type of steel that went into that crowbar....so once again...you're looking into a dry hole.

Here's the fix. Order some knife steel from any of the knife makers suppliers, and then at the very least, you will be working with a known steel, and then we can give you specific answers to your questions, and the entire process can be a learning experience for you. The steels recommended are excellent for beginners because they are "simple" steels, and yet they are excellent for making good, quality knives....and the processes used are as easy as it gets...and that knowledge can then be parlayed into properly heat treating other types of steel as you go down the knifemaking path.

Your attempt at making a knife from this "mystery metal", might , if you are lucky...lead to a decent knife, but you will never know if the process can be used on another piece of "mystery metal" or not.

By starting with 1080 steel, you can build your knowledge base...along with your skill set, and you will have information that is valuable to you that can help you on your second knife. Eventually, you will be able to probably take a piece of "mystery metal" and make a quality knife with it, but by then, you will not want to do that because you will have an understanding of the problems that "mystery metal" can lead to.

We are not trying to be vague with our help...it's just that when you use "mystery metal", it's as much a mystery for us as it is for you. By buying 1080 steel, you will know what type of steel you're working with, and when you ask your questions, we can help you by giving specific answers to those questions.

The whole thing represents a lot of value for the price of a piece of 1080...which is a very cost effective steel to work with.
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  #6  
Old 04-15-2012, 12:49 PM
Edy420 Edy420 is offline
 
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Wow thanks for the advice guys.
I figured that would be the general view on mystery metal :P

But I smacked it around a bit and learned that I'm not as good as I thought I was, as I found it hard to keep everything straight and even while banging out a bevel.

So its been scrapped, and I moved onto something even harder, making Damascus out of steel cable!
Lets just say, my learning curve went from hard, to extremely difficult, but at least I had fun doing it.

It's back to the drawing board, until I can source some worth while metal to work with, or until I can master Damascus.
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:00 PM
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WynnKnives WynnKnives is offline
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There are many sources online for more knife making materials then you (or atleast me) could ever afford. I have my favorites but won't advertise, just search google, you can obtain some pretty cheap blade steel. Like the other guys said, it's well worth buying it from a supplier and you know exactly what your working with.
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:46 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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You're right about cable damascus. If there is any more difficult damascus to make I don't know of it. Further, almost any piece of cable you pick up anywhere is very likely NOT suitable for the purpose. Even some of the cable that is suitable needs to be taken apart strand by strand so that the unsuitable parts can be removed. Not for the faint of heart!

For now, go buy some blade steel. At the very least, buy some cable from a knife supply house like Sheffield's. At least then you'll know that even though you're still likely to be wasting your time and money that the possibility of success was there if you could do the work ....


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